Thursday, 23 January 2014

MW370- Nice one Henry

 A couple of copies of MW370 dropped on the mat a couple of hours ago and it has some good stuff in it.
 Larely pre-gunpowder there are articles on the Rise of Macedon- a Campaign game this and a bit of a "what if" - and worth a look  despite is DBA(dead boring ancients)  bias it still has some useful ideas hidden in there. despite the authors remark that if you are not using DBA you'll need to use Army lists appropriate to the rules you ARE using (Idiot books rule OK obviously)
40mm Normans having a bash at some Saxon  Sash and Saber figs .
. The continuing series on the Mongols reaches Khalka- which was a right barney with the Russians coming second- of course I' biased here as OG do a well tasty "Mongols in Europe " range which covers most of these armies- I await the bits on the Battles of Mohi and Liegnitz  with interest.
 Robbie Roddis is in there too-  His and Paul Stevensons interview with Charlie Wesencraft is worth a read. Now I'll not comment further as I know all of the participants here  so read it for yourselves its worth the cover price alone.
 A nice piece on using Spanish Napoleonic armies also appears-  I think perhaps the author is a bit too pro-French - ascribing them manovre abilities which they didn't always posess but its nice to  see   the hugely over maligned  Spanish getting an airing - After all they never stopped fighting from 1808- 1813 they always had armies in the field unlike the Austrians and Prussians who packed it in after Boney beat them up.I even ended up reading that article twice- something I can't remember doing  for years.
 There is also a piece on the Norman invasion of England- which has always been a favoured period of mine. I've had at least 3 Norman armies through my hands over the years and have always liked the period and have several of the early sources- well Translations anyhow in my library
My 40mm Vikings- see any thralls or berserker units... I think not.

 So as you might  realise I read this with  care.  What the article actually was was a set of simple rules and army list (Gawdamighty!!!)  purporting to be for the 1066 campaign. Now the rules might work pretty well- if a bit simplistically  but the Army lists had been culled from other equally inaccurate army lists rather than the sources. Why,I ask, do the Saxons have Guard Housecarles and Housecarles?  The Vikings berserker UNITS !!!and units of "Thralls"- why would they be brought to England even assuming that they would fight? . Why when there is no real evidence are ther "Breton Light Cavalry"- with an abitlity to Skirmish in the Norman lists- also a provision for "Javelin armed skirmish infantry- loads of them on the Tapestry I'm sure.
 This used to be quite common - there was an assumtion that unarmoured "servientes" or sergreants  fought differently from the Knights .
Sash and Saber 40mm Duke William- Doubtless wondering where his mythical Breton Light Cavalry have got to.
 No what we have here is another version of making history fit my rules .
 Mind you thats not the Editors fault and the article was well writtenand I suspect the game as a game would be OK toplay once or twice- the card activation system looked fine  its just that the history was twaddle


  1. Bugs the heck out of me when 'lists' have separate units of Bondi, or berserker or or whatever, constantly trying to fit them in 'nice little boxes' of organization when in fact they were just older blokes, younger nippier sorts, poor fellas or richer more powerful leaders mixed in together generally getting stuck in to give the buggers opposite them a good kicking.
    Splitting them into units and giving them a 'historical' name to that type does I suppose help companies like Gripping (huge hands) Beast sell vast amounts of figures though so maybe it at least makes commercial sense even if historical accuracy goes out the window.

  2. I suppose the army list is a bit more sophisticated than my assumption that the Saxon army comprised, pretty much, a front line of you more heavily armoured, better equipped and more highly trained/motivated types, the rear ranks progressively less well armoured/equipped/trained/motivated; the whole subdivided into a centre and two wings and embued with a 'C'mon then, let's be havin' yer!' attitude.

    Historically accurate or not, I can see how an army so described would take a fair bit of breaking down... My attitude to historiography is to apply the razor of Occam, and go with the simplest explanation or interpretation. It can lead to some interesting insights at that!

  3. Dava and Ion- precisely. The whole idea of "Units" of identically armed/ motivated blokes in many Dark Age armies is simple nonsense and up to a point still twaddle 400 years later(though less so) yet wargames rule writers do it all the time for simplicity. and for "gameplay"

    1. and to make money by publishing innumerable 'must have' army lists so that lazy sods don't have to go to the bother of actually reading about a period they claim to have an interest in!

    2. Exactly - but its "chicken and egg" If you publish rules without lists you won't sell the rules or you get accused of and I quote- "not supporting the product" by the more vocal "not- purchasers!"

  4. I'm beginning to think that the problem with magazines is the readership - perhaps they expect too much. I should be more precise and say the "vocal readership" - that's pillocks like us ,dudes.
    Now I've had a bash at MW several times since Henry Hyde took over and I'm not alone but when "the boy done good" equally I'll say so and hopefully say why .
    Not simply Its crap because it didn't interest me wasn't my period etc etc (or course if you only game the 3rd Arsholian War of 17Oh for Gods sake than what do you expect but jesting aside I am drawn to think that many blokes don't actually KNOW what they want from a magazine.
    That is Occams razor applied to magazine- the simplest explanation....